More than 100 Colombian children, mainly in the north of the country, have died of starvation so far this year, according to the National Health Institute (INS).
In its latest bulletin, the INS said that in the last week alone nine children and minors died “due to multiple causes [and] registered malnutrition as one of the causes.
The northern La Guajira province, where corruption is rife and recent extreme drought worsened conditions, 26 children died, more than a quarter than the total of 101 children who died in the entire country.
According to the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights, more than 4,500 children of the Wayuu, the native people of La Guajira, died of malnutrition in the past 8 years.
The INS said that almost 56% of the deceased children was indigenous, while indigenous ethnic minorities making up no more than 4% of Colombia’s national population.
According to the INS, more tan half of the malnutrition-related deaths occurred among babies younger than one year old.
The average weight of these children at the time of their death was 4.7 kilograms (10.4 pounds).
The vast majority of the children, 78%, were registered with social security programs that have been plagued by corruption.